Darlings [fss]

Mask feather sexy woman dark night

The dark silhouette of a woman stood in the doorway, gestured for me to come forward, and whispered… “Welcome to the Hotel California.”

“Haha,” I said. “Actually, I’m here for the writers conference.”

She consulted her iPad. “OK. Did you want the pretentious poets seminar, the literary fiction curation, the bodice ripper mixer, or the sci-fi gala?”

I frowned. “None of those. I registered for the murder mystery treasure hunt. My name is Tiffany Twist.”

She typed something. “You’re all set.”

I waited, but she didn’t give me any more info. “Um. Thanks. But which room is it in?”

“That’s part of the mystery,” she said. “Now, if you could please move along. There are other guests waiting to check in.”

I glanced back and saw a large woman in a purple muumuu holding an iced pink champagne cupcake in one hand and a cat carrier in the other. “Hello, sweets,” she said. “I’m Amaryllis Rose, romance novelist.”

Pink cupcake

“I never would have guessed,” I murmured as I walked past the hostess and into the grand foyer. It was completely empty, but a faint light gleamed at the end of the hall to my left, so I went that way.

I peeked into a room where it smelled like colitas and a bearded young man in ripped jeans screamed, “Fuck the world! My pain is curled. Like a sleeping serpent. Baking in radioactive starlight. My love ignites.”

Ugh. Poets. I continued on until I found some fun people dressed up like furry monsters from outer space dancing under a mirrored ceiling. One of them handed me a key. “Go to the courtyard,” he hissed. “Hurry!”

“Will do,” I said. “Nice costume!”

“What costume?” he replied.

I ran down a maze of corridors until I came to a locked door. The key fit the lock and I stepped out into a stone courtyard where a Mercedes was parked crookedly. The driver’s side door hung open, so I glanced inside.

Mercedes car

“Michael! Darling!” I gasped in horror at the dead body with a steely knife stuck in his chest. Then I looked in the trunk where a second body lay sprawled with multiple stab wounds in his back. “Mike! My darling!”

A bewigged judge in black robes emerged from the shadows. “They’re dead, Tiffany, and we know you killed them. You weren’t supposed to take our advice literally. Your punishment is to rewrite your novel for all eternity, and each time you reach the end of a chapter, Word will reboot without saving anything.”

And that’s how I became a prisoner of my own device.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter 53.

Writing Stages

Writer

Dr. Tanya continues her Blogging Insights series this week by asking us to share our experiences regarding the various stages of writing a novel or any kind of book. She includes this quote:

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ~ W. Somerset Maugham

My favorite stage of writing is the first one, where I dream up a clever title and some great names for the main characters. I may envision a setting and an offbeat way for the protags to meet. I’ll creat a conflict and plot twist; sometimes I’ll include cats but usually not dogs. Occasionally, I’ll begin what I call an outline, but it’s really just a mishmash of notes. That’s usually as far as I get with most ideas until I’m on to the next one.

Walking in moonlight with umbrella

Sometimes I’ll actually begin writing a story I’ve dreamt up. After a while, I probably will hate it and realize my idea doesn’t work. But sometimes it does, so I plod on. Soon, it’s just work, not fun, and I’m easily distracted by other things. This is stage two, a boring slog, and where I often stop due to inertia. Years later I may pick it back up.

Stage three happens when I can see a finish line and I get excited about my story again. The writing goes faster during this stage, and I try not to get too obsessed with going back and fixing everything. Yet I do go back, because reasons. Sometimes I quit here, if it looks like I’ve botched things up too badly to fix. Other times I go on… and eventually get to type THE END.

And that’s where the real work begins: stage four, editing. This is when I try to eliminate the typos, grammatical errors, and tedious blocks of jabber. I also try to plump up the story with vivid description and sparkling narrative because I’m often light on that the first time. Then I go back through and delete most of that because ick.

Many times during these stages I will spend a ridiculous amount of time designing a cover, and then starting it over. I also may spend loads of hours researching stuff that never ends up in the book but seems very important at the time. After all this, I’ll plop the book on KDP where it sits for eternity, lonelier than the Maytag repairman.

Lonely alone

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

July 4th Share [syw]

M&M cookies

Melanie begins the July 4th week with a blast of new Share Your World questions. Let’s get started!

What do you think it means to be healthy?

This is an interesting question and I don’t really know how to answer it. Technically, I am healthy, even though my BP was up a bit at my last exam. But I never feel well. I have loads of migraines, backaches, and nights of poor sleep. Given that, I don’t consider myself particularly physically healthy. To me, that would mean not only good “numbers” but also feeling good most days, having more energy, and being able to walk/hike/dance, etc., without feeling achy and horrible afterward. Every day when I wake up, my entire body is a mass of pain until I take a hot shower and walk around the house for a bit. That doesn’t say “healthy” to me even if I look fine on paper.

Is being obsessive about someone or something a good thing?

Obsession is defined as recurrent, persistent thoughts that make you feel bad, so by definition, no. But if we think about it in the sense of being committed to a goal, then maybe it can be beneficial. You can’t really write a book without some degree of obsession; otherwise, you’ll be distracted from your work at every opportunity. You have to feel bad when you aren’t progressing with your writing in order to get motivated to continue because every day is full of possibilities to draw you away from it. I imagine the same is true for other goals that require intense focus. But being obsessed with a person is probably always a negative.

After a disagreement with your S.O., do you initiate the makeup conversation or wait for your S.O. to do it?

I do because he’ll be sulking under the bed and I miss him too much not to apologize first.

Have you ever done something incredibly embarrassing in front of a huge crowd?  Feel free to share details or not.  Some things are best left in the closet.

I don’t think so. If I have, I’ve blocked it from my mind.

What’s your sweetest memory from childhood?

Going to my grandmother’s house in Ohio and sitting on the floor all day with a pile of kittens.

Kittens

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Holiday cookies made by Diane. Wish they were here!

TMP63: Rulebreakers

TMP monday peeve kitty cat

Welcome to my refreshed Monday Peeve! Unburden yourself of an annoyance and you’ll feel better afterward. Or not. Complain in my comments or crab in your own post. Doesn’t have to be on a Monday. You do you.

I’m writing this on Sunday night, and tomorrow is July 4, a holiday off from work for many Americans (though not all). I’m not going to complain (again) about fireworks as they actually haven’t been that bad this year, though ideally there would be zero amateur ones going off in a time of drought. No, I’m here to bitch about the people yelling in the pool/jacuzzi. The pool closes at 10pm every night, no exception for holidays. But for some reason, tonight some folks have decided that they don’t have to obey the rules, and they’re still downstairs yelling and drinking now at 10:30pm.

Have you ever noticed that the more people drink, the louder they get? It’s a strange phenomenon. I’m not going to pretend I want to go to sleep, because it’s too early for me, but others might. Rulebreakers never care about inconvenience to others though; they’re simply all about their own selfish pleasures. There is no real enforcement of the pool rules, only an honor system, where the HOA supposes that people won’t want to be assholes to their neighbors. We have a lot of elderly people here and some babies too. There are also working folks, such as cops and nurses, who might actually have to get some sleep tonight in order to be on the job bright and early tomorrow. (Note: I don’t know for a fact that there are cops or nurses living here, but there could be.)

There may be a compelling reason to break a rule, but partying loudly into the night and disturbing an entire community because tomorrow is the 4th isn’t it. Naturally, I expect the same inconsiderate jerks to do it again tomorrow night (tonight), when I will need to go to sleep at a reasonable hour and get up for work on Tuesday.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Weekend Sky

Tree branches sky

This is my Weekend Sky today, relaxing at an outdoor jazz concert in Newport Beach.

Stay cool, bloggy friends.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Shine

blue pink trees hazy misty

A tangle of branches
Climbs into the clouds,
Swaying in the soft summer breeze.
Gentle scene offers a reprieve
From the dramas playing out on the ground.
Teeth against talons–
A stream of screams breaks the peace
And the air bleeds with sound.
Seeds borne of strife
Sail through the winds of time,
A boon to one,
An ending to another,
And the sun continues to shine.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for the Sunday Whirl Wordle 559. Words are: tangle breeze stream clouds sway reprieve teeth bleed seeds climb branches boon.

SLS ~ Hey Mickey!

party people concert cheer

Oh Mickey, you’re so fine
You’re so fine, you blow my mind
Hey Mickey, hey Mickey
Oh Mickey, you’re so fine
You’re so fine, you blow my mind
Hey Mickey, hey Mickey

I’m not sure what’s going on with Jim this week, but he seems to be absent from WordPress. I hope all is OK with our Song Lyric Sunday host!* In any case, the theme of one-hit wonders is up, and I’ve chosen “Mickey” by Toni Basil. This song was written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn and recorded by Toni Basil for her 1982 debut album Word of Mouth. The song was originally performed in 1979 by the British group Racey and called “Kitty.” Toni added the cheerleading chant. There was a rumor that Toni had a crush on Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, hence the song title, but she says nope.

Hey Mickey
You’ve been around all night and that’s a little long
You think you’ve got the right but I think you’ve got it wrong
Why can’t you say goodnight?
So you can take me home, Mickey

Peeps clutched their pearls over the lyrics, which could be construed as “obscene,” but Toni says that’s simply sexist. If “So come on and give it to me / Any way you can / Any way you want to do it / I’ll take it like a man” isn’t obscene when a man sings it to a girl, then it shouldn’t be considered obscene when a girl sings it to a man. Toni says this kind of thinking is how the wrong foot gets cut off when you go into the ER [Wikipedia]. Um OK. That makes a lot of sense.

Oh Mickey, what a pity, you don’t understand
You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand
Oh Mickey, you’re so pretty, can’t you understand?
It’s guys like you, Mickey
Ooh what you do Mickey, do Mickey
Don’t break my heart, Mickey

Anyway, “Mickey” was a number one song on US Billboard Hot 100 and Toni’s only Top 40 success; it was No. 6 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s. The music video was directed, produced, and choreographed by Toni, and the cheerleaders were members of a championship squad from Carson High School in Los Angeles. Basil wore a cheerleading outfit from her own high school cheer days at Las Vegas High. But don’t cry for Toni: she had tons of career success in the entertainment industry as a dancer and choreographer.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

*Mystery solved! Jim is on vacation and Fandango is hosting SLS for a couple weeks. Thanks Fandango!

Flippant [74 words]

Cat upside down head

I promise I’ll never be flippant
About serious shizz,
Like buttercream frosting
And the cat litter biz.
I try hard to respect
The alternative views
Of those who wear socks
With sandals not shoes.
Religion is off-limits,
But politics is a lark;
We’d all surely go mad
Without daily doses of snark.
Dating is a joke
And I treat it as such,
Which is why I’m alone
And I don’t give a f—!

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Gracie’s Gamble [socs]

There are many topics I could ramble on about for Linda’s prompt today, but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to promote Gracie’s Gamble by Anna Fondant. This is such a sweet, sexy little story and it costs less than a buck. Seriously, it’s a way better deal than a bag of cherries, plus all the fireworks in this book are perfectly legal. Celebrate the 4th in appreciation of sizzling hot lurve with no risk of a sunburn or a hangover. Heck, I might buy another copy for myself!

This reminds me… after reorganizing Anna’s books and culling those that don’t fit her brand (like dragons, lol), she has 7 items for sale right now, plus her contributions to the Dangerous Curves anthologies. Anna offers a yummy mix of novels and short stories on her dessert cart. Don’t be afraid to buy more than one ~ these treats are calorie free!

Now, 7 may be a lucky number for some peeps, but I prefer a Monkish set of ten. So, for the record, I do intend to add 2 more books to my list and 3 to Anna’s. I have a bunch of WIPs, and while my folders may appear to be a big messy scramble, trust me, the stories are all planned out in detail. Translated, that means I have titles and names. Plot, schmot! I just need a few more hours in each day…

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

TGIF ~ Only Murders

New York City

Hurrah! Only Murders in the Building has returned for Season Two… and the first two episodes are great! I’m trying not to binge watch the whole thing in a blur because when I do that I can’t remember some of the details. This is such a good show with the characters perfectly cast. I even appreciate Amy Schumer in her new role, when she usually makes me cringe.

For a long time, my philosophy was hey I am paying for Prime, so I refuse to buy other channels, plus I don’t even like TV that much blah blah blah. Welp, I’m happy to report that even though I am old and generally stubborn, my mind can still be changed. That happened the first time with Game of Thrones ~ I watched via a friend and liked it so much I subscribed. I think that was HBO. It’s easy to cancel when your show ends or breaks, and then you can restart it later.

I’m subscribed to AMC+ in order to watch the end of Better Call Saul, which begins again July 11 with 6 more eps. Then I will cancel the channel. And I’ve just subscribed to Hulu so I can watch OMITB. What I like about Hulu is that you have the option to subscribe with ads for half price ~ and I don’t mind ads. Gives me a chance to scroll WP! I watched a strange movie on Hulu last night called The Assistant… and I haven’t decided whether I liked it or not. But it was different ~ and I like that!

I’m not thrilled about adding new expenses in this economy, but I justify it by saying good shows keep me home, and when I’m home I’m not out using gas and buying food in restaurants (a win/win because of money and salt). I’ve discovered that my aging eyes are not happy when I stare at a screen close up all day at work then again at night, and my carpal tunnel protests too, so I need to give myself a break from doing more work and/or writing. Sad but true.

Have a good one!

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.